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NFL Draft

Green Bay Packers: Oklahoma State RB Justice Hill the missing piece?

Green Bay Packers NFL Draft
Photo Credit: Chat Sports

The Green Bay Packers have ten picks in the upcoming NFL Draft. With two first-round picks, most eyes will be on the team’s day one selections. But with an abundance of picks in the later rounds, there is excellent value to be found.

The Matt LaFleur era is officially underway. After cleaning house from the Mike McCarthy regime, the Green Bay Packers are looking to move in a new direction. This year’s NFL Draft is an important one for LaFleur to bring in young players to help build his system. With 10 picks — 3 in the top 44 — the Packers have a tremendous opportunity to do so. All of the attention will be on the teams two first-round picks. However, history has shown that many of the most productive players in the league can be found in the later rounds.

LaFleur loves two backs

Justice Hill is one player that the Packers should have their eyes on in the later rounds. The Oklahoma State running back is one of the most versatile players in the draft and would be perfect in Matt LaFleur’s system.

LaFleur has a track record of preferring a two-back system. In his stint with the Atlanta Falcons, Tevin Coleman and DeVonta Freeman were among the premiere backfield duos in the league. And last year when LaFleur was in Tennessee, Dion Lewis and Derrick Henry were the focal points of that offense.

Green Bay right now has an emerging star in running back Aaron Jones. Last season he showed that he has similar tools as guys like Alvin Kamara and Christian McCaffrey. He may not have the ceiling of those two, but he also wasn’t given enough opportunity in McCarthy’s offense. With LaFleur now calling the shots, Jones’ production will almost certainly skyrocket in both the run and pass game.

A perfect fit in Green Bay

Adding Justice Hill to that backfield would make for a difficult duo for opposing defenses to stop. The NFL has moved into a new era: The age of versatility. The more utility belt players an offense can put on the field, the more dynamic that offense becomes. The Kansas City Chiefs, Chicago Bears, Los Angeles Rams, and New Orleans Saints all proved that this past season.

Hill is an exceptional route runner and can make an immediate impact in the passing game. He also has excellent vision and balance to compliment Jones in the running game. His biggest weakness is that he is undersized. Listed at 5-foot-10, 190 pounds, his size could limit his potential as a three-down back. But that wouldn’t be a problem for the Packers. With Jones as the lead back, Hill wouldn’t be an every-down player. Also, with an NFL coaching staff and strength team around him, there is no reason to think he won’t couldn’t add some bulk to his frame.

Hill had an unbelievable combine

Hill’s NFL combine was short-lived but very impressive. A hamstring injury ended his workout, but not before he turned some heads.

His 40 time of 4.40 seconds made him the fastest running back at the combine. And his impressive 40-inch vertical and 130-inch broad jump confirmed the explosiveness shown on tape. It’s safe to say that Hill helped his draft stock tremendously after last weeks combine.

Projections for Hill are all over the place. Some mocks have him going as high as the second round, while others have him slipping into the fourth or fifth. Green Bay holds an early 3rd-round pick (75 overall) which they could potentially use on Hill. They could, however, see that as too much of a reach. If so, they could swing a deal with one of their six remaining picks to take him in either the late third or early fourth.

Almost every year a mid-round running back breaks out and puts up monster numbers. Justice Hill is a strong candidate to continue that trend in 2019. The league should be put on notice, especially if he becomes a cheesehead.

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